7/4 SFA We want to see fireworks!

Associated parks:
None

Saturday, July 5, 2003 7:29 PM
To the person who asked “Will it be crowded at Six Flags America on the 4th of July?”, I have the answer. Here’s how it all started. I wanted to see fireworks. So, I called Gowithgravity and asked him what his plans were. It turns out that his friends know someone who’s having a party right near my local fireworks. They’re even going to pick me up. Awesome, as you can’t get within a mile or more of the highschool were they shoot the fireworks off.

After an hour-and-a-half of a parade, I called gwg (who for the rest of the story will be referred to as Matt), Of course, there’s a huge backup going in either direction after the parade ended. For our parade, people started putting out lawn chairs on Sunday. It turns out that everyone really does love a parade, even one full of Mummers (or string bands), and Boumi Temple people (Shriners). Matt tells me not to worry, they won’t be picking me up until much later. So, I called once again when I got home to confirm plans. Now it turns out, we’re going to Annapolis instead. Ok, whatever, it just means a 1/2 trip down to Millersville.

After hanging out for quite a while and listening to Weird Al’s new CD “poodle hat”, which was actually quite funny, and the new Metallica, which sounded like it was recorded in a $20 a day studio (the DVD’s sound quality, with the same tracks in the same order done at a rehearsal is far superior). Then it was decided we were going to Starbucks near Annapolis. Ok. I decided on the Hot Chocolate, which for $2 and change, actually was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.

Plans once again change. Matt’s friends Jeff and Chris have decided that they’re just going to go to a party, and skip the fireworks. Matt turns and says “Want to go to Six Flags to see the fireworks?” I’ve got a car with a parking pass, and we both have our season passes. We must be insane. We were smart in that we put off going to the park until it got dark. The less of SFA on the 4th of July, the better. So we went and hung out in a Barnes & Nobles, which was practially dead.

The “for Idiots” selection is quite wide and varied at B&N. There’s “Prostate Cancer for Idiots”, “Supreme Court for Idiots”, and “Roller Coasters for Idiots”. I was just playing with the last one. I walk over to this one section which has a book on the dangers of the fast food industry. I point it out to Matt, and out of the corner of my eye I see Alpengeist on the back of this thin book simply called “Rollercoasters”. What it was doing in the “Cultural Studies” section we couldn’t figure out. Matt says it’s not that great. According to this book, if a coaster doesn’t make a complete circuit, they don’t even acknowledge it in a park by park coaster listing. Wow. Kiss your Boomerang, Invertigo, Shuttle Loop, LIM-powered whatever coaster credits goodbye. My 151 would be more like 130-140.

After both making purchases, we made the trek down to the park. We reached the entrance around 8:30pm where we noticed a mob of cars entering the park. Remember two things; we came to see fireworks, damnit, and hopefully get one ride on S:ROS. It’s 8:30pm at night and they’re still charging people $9 to park. Hey, I guess it’ll help pay for the fireworks. I actually found a spot in the first lot, which was a miracle in itself. Walking up to the closed ride board, no less than six rides are listed, including : S:ROS, Batwing, Penguin’s Blizzard River, Iron Eagle, Two-Face the Flip Side, and Riddle Me This (If this list is wrong, we were in a hurry). Matt reminds me that the closed ride board is often incorrect.

After stopping at one of the 5 bathrooms in the main park (that’s 4 more than in Gotham City), Matt says he saw a train go over the third hill of Ride of Steel, and than I see a Batwing train in action. Small Editorial: How hard would it be for someone to go out and change the signs? Don’t they have contact with the various rides? Isn’t it someone’s responsibility to change update this board? (end editorial). Ok, there’s “it’s crowded”, and then there’s “It’s Great Adventure on a weekend crowded”. It’s definitely boardering on the latter tonight. Walking over to Gotham City, we passed on Joker’s Jinx, which had a full house. We then got in line for Ride of Steel, which was three rows back in the overflow queue. Luckily, they were running both trains, or else it would’ve been a nightmare.

Next editorial: I’m not a big fan of Fastlane. The station is not designed for ingress and egress. After all the people would leave the train, they would the load the Fastlane people, who all have different times I assume, then finally they would open the airgates. I counted one successful dispatch without waiting (end editorial).

I did notice that they were running two trains on Batwing. So, I’ll give the park credit for running both trains on all the coasters that we saw. I hear one guy behind us say “I can’t wait to get out of here”. We get into the station and fireworks start going off, but they’re not SFA’s. To the back rear of the station, we can see another show. As we were waiting in line they started the SFA’s show around 9:15. It looks like they’re shooting off the fireworks from the waterpark, so, we could see the trails going up in the air, but we couldn’t see the resulting display because of the roof.

Waiting for row 2, car 1, a delay happened, but we’re hoping they’re not going to stop running the ride since the second and third hills get so close to the waterpark. Nope, it’s just more Fastlane (or as one guy called it “Speedy Gonzales pass”) b.s. The anticipation was killing us. After 46 minutes, sitting down in the Intamin chair never felt so good. Going up the lifthill, we finally get to see fireworks going off, while we’re riding. How cool is this? I’m actually kind of scared tonight. The lift seems faster, and it looks like we’re going off into a deep abyss since it’s so dark, sans the fireworks. The drop happens and the train feels like a leopard chasing down its prey. Oh my God, I don’t ever think I’ve ever had a faster or smoother ride. It must have been the 95 degree weather heating up the rails for us. The whole ride was way out of control.

Leaving Gotham City we pass an operational Penguin’s Blizzard River (remember the closed ride board?), and we’ve got fireworks to our left, and fireworks to our right. We finally stood in front of “Forever Closed Ride” (Typhoon Seacoaster), and watched the grand finale. What a show, and what a stench from all the smoke. Seeing as we had 10 minutes left, we quickly hopped on Roar, and got a double ride without exiting the train. It was so hot and humid we seriously talked about getting on Shiprwreck Falls, but neither of us has a plastic bag for wallets and such, so we pass. The head ride op on S:ROS said “Have fun trying to get out of the parking lot”. Funny, I can’t remember having trouble leaving usually.

For those not familiar with the parking lot, the main parking lot has individual rows of parking spaces, with spots on either side of the row which spill onto two lanes that exit the park at a traffic light. Can you say gridlock? We decided just to sit in the car, listen to music, and blast the A/C. Finally, our row starts to empty out, and we see that an ununiformed employee is letting out the rows a few cars at a time. Crawling our way over to the junction at the second parking lot by the waterpark, we noticed another employee directing cars in the right lane to go down into the 3rd parking lot, where there is another exit luckily with another traffic light. So we hopped into that line, and of course the line is long also, but it’s orderly, except for several people who were cutting diagonally across the parking lot and butting in front of other people. We finally made it back onto Central Ave. after an hour.

So for the person who asked the question. “Yes!”.

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If you have a problem with clones, the solution is real simple—Stop traveling.

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Sunday, July 6, 2003 8:46 AM
Nice TR,I'm suprised that SFA is even allowed to host a fireworks display of any kind seeing as fireworks are illegal in the entire state of Maryland,I guess we now know part of the reason behind the waterpark being less than immaculately clean as far as the actual water goes.

As for the parking lot being a nightmare to get out of,I have been to the park & have experienced similar conditions recently,that parking lot just isn't built to handle the volume of traffic it now recieves & most of the peeps entering & exiting seem just as intent on cutting you off in the lot as they are on the rides.

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Sunday, July 6, 2003 1:07 PM

BATWING FAN SFA said:
Nice TR,I'm suprised that SFA is even allowed to host a fireworks display of any kind seeing as fireworks are illegal in the entire state of Maryland,I guess we now know part of the reason behind the waterpark being less than immaculately clean as far as the actual water goes.

Uh... Anyone in the State of Maryland can put off a fireworks display with proper permitting and I'm not sure what you mean by a less than immaculately clean water park so no comments there. I have never had a problem with the water park.

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Monday, July 7, 2003 4:49 AM

BATWING FAN SFA said:


As for the parking lot being a nightmare to get out of, I have been to the park & have experienced similar conditions recently,that parking lot just isn't built to handle the volume of traffic it now recieves .


Wanna see a REAL fiasco? go to PKD for the fireworks, it took us 2 hours to get out of that lot. As far as the lot being built poorly, I'd have to say that on a regular busy nite the delay is minimal, but with everyone hitting the street at the same time it's tough. But it's that way everywhere on the 4th..........

SAM

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never met a coaster I didn't ride (except Junior Geminii) :(

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Saturday, July 12, 2003 8:05 AM
Guys I definatly trumped you all, I was one of 600,000 at the Boston Pops Concert/Fireworks. The show was amazing, but trying to get out was hell. The city pretty much made it impossible to park so everyone had to take the T in, theres 3 T stations in the area so imagine over 100,000 people trying to get into 2 standard size doors at the same time, at least you guys had AC and a radio in your car.

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Summer 03-CP, HP, SFDL, SFNE, SFWOA, and SFGAm.

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Saturday, July 12, 2003 12:38 PM
Boy, I sure agree that Fastlane can be a pain, and a very inefficient way of loading. You should see the queue to Timberhawk! Augh!

Nice TR as well. :)
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Saturday, July 12, 2003 4:53 PM
Nasai that's nothing,on a couple of occasions within the past year(2002) I've been in line for S:ROS only to have them load a whole entire train with fastlaners.

That system is an evil one & has got to go,all it does is make the wait times for rides longer for the rest of us who play by the rules & go through the regular line,I hope they upgrade to lo-q or q-bot or whatever that system is called these days at the other SF parks.

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